21

UD is a source that is written by amateurs, and rated by amateurs. I've used it from time to time, but it's best when supplemented with other examples. As for whether or not the UD is an "acceptable" source, that depends on the nature of the question. For example, suppose the O.P. is asking something like: What's a good slang term for a person who ...


18

Urban Dictionary can be a resource for slang phrases that are not in traditional dictionaries. However, it is not at all an authoritative source, since it is mainly an entertainment site. For questions not specifically about slang or obscure phrases, if you can find another source, it would be better to do so.


12

That would be my comment, so let me explain. Every single day, the OED has a new Word of the Day that it makes free to the world. Eventually, the whole OED will be free ;) And in case anyone is wondering whether a subscription to the word of the day means that eventually you will receive all of the dictionary, our calculations show that yes you will – in ...


11

Requests for resources that help the community in doing research for better questions and answers should be on-topic on ELU meta. This actually goes against our established SE policy that meta should be for questions about the main site, but let's make an exception here. We have a user base that are experts in the language, and who else would know about ...


9

I find Smythe Palmer’s dictionary almost impossible to use, in part because he presents the argument for a folk etymology in a deadpan way and only occasionally points out a fundamental flaw in that argument. Consider his dictionary’s entry for “blancmanger”: BLANCMANGER : the latter part of this word is said to have no connexion with manger, to eat. The ...


8

I would suggest we use the name they would prefer, that is Lexico. However, I would advise against editing old posts just to rename the previous citations. I previously used ODO or Oxford Dictionaries Online and later OLD or Oxford Living Dictionaries in my answers. I would prefer to use the name as it is on the site at the time.


7

I think this kind of situation is rare enough that you don't have to take special steps to avoid it. You can just let people tell you about it in the comments. Once you learn that the question is based on a misunderstanding, I would delete it, since it is not answerable.


7

It is not entirely clear from your question whether your problem with using Google Ngrams is that the data is not recent enough or that it is based on formal writing (books only), or both. But there are a number of other publicly accessible corpora that might suit your needs: The Corpus of Contemporary American English has data from 1990 to 2015, and ...


6

UD is a great source. A quick scan of the definitions give you a reliable definition of the term. Moreover, it also provides variant definitions, and the up/downvotes give you an idea of how many people would accept those definitions. Note the wisdom of crowds. The crowd is rarely wrong. (E.g. The audience on Millionaire has been right 95% of the time - much ...


6

If you are trying to get a sense of the relative frequency over time of two or more alternative spellings, you may be interested in the Google Ngram tool, which reports on the frequency, year-by-year, of specified search terms in the Google Books database. Here, for example, is the Ngram chart for "check box" (blue line) versus "checkbox" (red line) for the ...


5

Generally speaking, yes, resources do exist for researching historical word frequency (including contemporary frequency). Here, frequency is defined as The number of times an event or character occurs in a given sample; also (the relative frequency or proportionate frequency), this number expressed as a proportion of the total possible number of ...


5

Short answer: No, there's no perfectly correct dictionary, but the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) will probably get you what you want. Longer answer: There are a number of issues you bring up. 'Correct' for a dictionary is a strange usage. Does one typo make it 'incorrect'? Do a handful of oversimplifications make it 'incorrect'? I don't think you mean or ...


5

I have a few very reliable sources. Paper Rater Grammar Check Spell Check Plus Polish My Writing and finally Online Correction


5

Green's Dictionary of Slang is a highly regarded and well-curated dictionary that I would feel safe calling "the best online slang dictionary" in a holistic sense. The website is easy to use, and with a paid subscription you can access its massive collection of citations, now available for free without a subscription. Even with GDoS, the granularity is not ...


5

The meaning of the question seems clear to me (I say this as there seems to be some confusion in the comments): get all synonyms of the word in question, and return the ones that are least commonly used. For a view on frequency, you could use Google's Ngrams viewer, which has a large corpus of book texts. This requires you to enter a comma-separated ...


5

Form the help centre's What types of questions should I avoid asking? page (I quoted only the relevant parts): What types of questions should I avoid asking? To prevent your question from being flagged and possibly removed, avoid asking subjective questions where … every answer is equally valid: “What’s your favorite ______?” The resource request seems to ...


5

Resource requests are "shopping list" questions, and are inherently unsuitable for all SE sites, not just EL&U. The reasons why are discussed on Meta and in a blog post by Jeff Atwood. Summary from the linked answer: They are open-ended; there is never one perfect answer to them. They outdate incredibly quickly. This was what turned me ...


5

There are a few starting points if you're making a decision about the usage of computer terms. The Microsoft Writing Style Guide (formerly the Microsoft Manual of Style), which they pitch to people who write about computer technology, is a comprehensive guide for computer terminology. They have articles like this that provide guidance for check box: ...


5

I've collated sites from the comments, and added one more. It's not clear to me how many of these include actual word-frequency counts. Elephind: Search the world's historical newspaper archives. Chronicling America: Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1789-1963 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers ...


5

EL&U Meta's very own community-wiki-based question What good reference works on English are available? includes an answer headed "Historical Resources" that consists of sections devoted to early (pre–Samuel Johnson) general dictionaries and somewhat early (pre-1900) slang dictionaries. That answer is currently at 15 upvotes, so you have to ...


5

This answer is more relevant to English Language Learners and indeed it's well answered with lots of resources in the Meta on that site: Resources for learning English. Some of the resources mentioned there are free. The mechanics of migration and closing as a duplicate mean that leaving this question here as a signpost to ELL is worthwhile.


4

The on-topic help page says what questions are welcome: Questions on the following topics are welcomed here: • Word choice and usage • Grammar • Etymology (history of words’ development) • Dialect differences • Pronunciation (phonetics and phonology, dialectology) • Spelling and punctuation That would indicate that questions for resources are not welcome....


4

Lang-8.com is a good volunteer-based proofreading portal. It works on the principle of reciprocity: you proofread a guy or gal's posts in your language, they proofread writing in theirs. Furthermore, the more you've proofread, the higher your reputation is, and this also attracts readers and proofreaders.


3

Give Typely a try. It is a free proofreading application that you can use right away. It has been featured on the frontpage of many news aggregators and is already stable and strong. Our main focus is not grammar but we do catch a lot of mistakes while performing over a thousand checks on any given document. You can also check your writing’s sentiment, ...


3

You might try englishforums.com You'll need to create a free account. Click on "Forums", the rightmost item in the main menu and scroll down to Essay, Report & Composition Writing where you can post your text and people will give you advice even beyond simple proofreading. The site also has an internal messaging system, which can be helpful for one-...


3

https://youglish.com/search/eczema I remember the site because I once asked a question about the different pronunciations of eczema and @Atai Voltaire posted an answer that had a link to the site. Here's another example where you can actually choose which accent you want. I chose hyperbole in British English: https://youglish.com/search/hyperbole/uk? ...


3

Sometimes you can learn about the usage of technical terms by Googling them. For example, you'll find that "checkbox" has more hits than "check box." Since you're asking for a specific resource, I suggest Webopedia, which has a definition for check box (two words).


3

You might want to consider a dictionary that's carefully curated and recent. The more recent it is the more likely newer terms will be listed and updated usage is covered. Careful curation is necessary because terms may have different meanings both outside the field of computer science (e.g. kilo meaning 1000 vs 1024) and even different definitions within ...


3

Google is usually my go to source for finding examples of specific expressions. You can enclose your expression in double quotes and it will make it match it verbatim. (Google Search’s number of hits will not be accurate however unless you go to the last page of results.) You can use the same search in the book tab to get hits in books. You can also specify ...


3

This seems like the perfect job for the Early English Books Online corpus which is 755 million words covering the 1470s to 1690s. You can access this via the BYU website. It’s very easy to use for basic searches, though there’s a lot more that you can do. For late in your time frame (late 1700s+), try newspaper databases. The only problem with that is these ...


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